What’s ON that bug? Ranatra w/ orange bumps
Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 3:12 PM
I recently tracked down the ID of this odd insect in a local pond as a Water Scorpion (Ranatra spp.), but all of the individuals I’ve seen so far are covered in strange, orange bumps that do not appear to be “normal” or common. Do you have any idea what these might be caused by? The pond is next to the building I work in and appears to be the result of dam work by the local beaver’s union. There is plenty of food for these guys with damsel flies, tadpoles in the thousands and other small, crunchy things. The other wildlife in the area does not appear to be suffering from any apparent disease or sicknesses and the vegetation around the pond appears to be thriving.
Eric Snyder
Issaquah, WA 98027

Water Scorpion with Phoretic Mites

Water Scorpion with Phoretic Mites

Hi Eric,
Congratulations on identifying the Water Scorpion in the genus Ranatra.  That is not an easy identification.  The orange bumps are Aquatic Mites.  The Aquatic Mites often use flying aquatic insects to get from one body of water to another, a behavior known a phoresy.  Some time back when we posted an image of a ToeBiter with mites, we got this comment from a reader.

Previous Comment on similar posting:  Mites on the toe-biter?
Hi Daniel and Lisa Anne,
About the email on the Toe Biter from Tom on (01/27/2007) who talks about having 12 red mites on his Toe Biter? I remember seeing mites on aquatic insects, looking suspicious, and so I looked it up, and it turns out that *all* of the more than 5,000 known species of aquatic mites (Hydracarina) are partly parasitic. When they are larvae, aquatic mites are parasitic on aquatic insects, but as adults the mites become free-swimming and predatory. Winged aquatic insects, such as the toe biters, fly around of course, and that way the mites are spread from one body of water to another. You can read a lot more interesting stuff about them at:
http://www.tolweb.org/Parasitengona
And at :
http://www.tolweb.org/Hydracarina
Best to you as always,
Susan J. Hewitt

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large green beetle, orange legs, long antennae?
Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 1:52 PM
I found this large green metallic beetle in my oak tree. I have never seen a beetle like this one before, and was wondering if you could tell me what it is! The body itself was about 3-3.5″ long, and the antennae nearly doubled its length. The legs are also very long and a verigated orange color. Any info would be very appreciated!
Amy G.
Seminole, Oklahoma

Bumelia Borer

Bumelia Borer

Hi Amy,
There are many beautiful Long Horned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae, but the Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens, is one of the more beautiful North American species. According to BugGuide: “Larvae are trunk and root borers of Tupelo ( Nyssa ), Bumelia , and Mulberry ( Morus ). Adults are attracted to UV lights and bait.”

Thank you very much for your reply!  It was a very beautiful bug.  I darn near killed myself trying to get away from it when it flew towards me, LOL! By the way, it’s near impossible to pull your head/neck down inside your body to avoid a bug flight path!
Amy G.

6 legged fuzzy backed beetle
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 7:05 PM
I am in Bakersfield, California and was bitten while feeding my horses by this 6 legged fuzzy beetle. It crawled into my shoe and bit through my sock. Very painful like a wasp sting. The area is by a river that is dry and lots of empty scrubland.
Can you identify him from these scans of him? He was not very cooperative and was difficult to make him stand still. I will now extract my revenge and feed his happy little self to some chickens. Thanks for your time.
Michael Beilby
Bakersfiel, California

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

Hi Michael,
We just drove through Bakersfield on the way back from Mendocino, and it was a scorcher.  This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp, which would explain why her “bite” felt like a wasp sting.  It actually was a wasp sting.  We believe this is Dasymutilla sackenii based on images posted to BugGuide. Non-stinging males of the species, indeed of the entire family Mutilidae, have wings and resemble other wasps.

Velvet Ant

Velvet Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red Fuzzy Bug of Southern Arizona
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM
Dear WTB: I live in Cochise County of southern Arizona. We had our first real rain of the monsoon yesterday. This morning I went to feed my horses and found these little red bugs everywhere. They seem to be burrowing out of the ground. They are small, but some bigger than others. Some have white spots and some are all red. I watched one help another burrow out!!!! So what are they and do they bite!
Deni
Saint David, Arizona

Velvet Mite

Velvet Mite

Hi Deni,
These are Velvet Mites in the family Trombidiidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are parasitic on insects.  Adults eat insect eggs.”  BugGuide also indicates that there are thousands of species.  The one with the white markings matches some images on BugGuide from the genus Dinothrombium which is reported from Texas and Arizona.  According to Charles Hogue in his landmark book Insects of the Los Angeles Basis, our local representatives from the family are called Angelitos.  Hogue writes:  “There is probably more than one species of giant red velvet mite in the deserts of southern California.  But at least one occasionally emerges in the dry eastern margins of the basin in large numbers, usually following a rain.  These creatures never fail to attract attention because of their large size (the body length of adults is about 1/4 to 5/8 in., or 5 to 8 mm) and brilliant crimson furry bodies.  The larvae are parasites of grasshoppers, and the adults are predators on subterranean termites.  The adults remain in the soil most of the year and spend only a few hours above grouns, probably to feast on their prey, which also respond to rains by emerging in numbers.  Little else is known of their biology.”  From what Hogue writes, it would seem that the rain triggered the emergence in Arizona as well.velvet_mite_dinothrombium_deni

western manitoba – beetles mating on columbine
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM
Hello there. Could you help me identify these lovely bugs mating on some columbine in our Riding Mountain National Park official gardens. I took the photo just today – it’s July 1st.
Their lower backs seem to be silver or transparent.
Thank you so much for your time.
M.M.
Clear Lake, Manitoba – Riding Mountain National Park

Mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs

Mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs

Dear M.M.,
These are not mating beetles, but mating Twice-Stabbed Stink Bugs, Cosmopepla lintneriana.  According to BugGuide, it is “Formerly Cosmopepla bimaculata , and still listed that way by most guides.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults suck plant juices from many different plants: thistles, mints, goldenrods, ragweeds, columbines.”
The Columbine is our favorite flower, and we want to post your photo uncropped, but we are also cropping in closer to better showcase the Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs.

Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs Mating

Update:  No Broken Promise
Subject: I was asked to be in your book, was it ever printed?
November 14, 2014 1:37 am
Hi there.  Several years ago I submitted a photo of two shield bugs mating on a clematis (in Manitoba), and in your id response you requested my photo for your book.  I provided you with my photo credit info.  I was never notified when it came out, and I’m wondering what happened?  Do the people featured get a free copy of the book at least, since we weren’t paid to be featured?
Thank you.
Signature: Maggie Mandarano

Subject: Sorry they were stink bugs, not shield bugs, and on columbine
November 14, 2014 1:49 am
Sorry, just found the original question I sent – got the bug and flower wrong, duh…
It was stink bugs, on a columbine.  Here’s the original header from the question.
western manitoba – beetles mating on columbine
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM
I hope I didnt come across as rude – that wasn’t my intention – just curious if my photo ever got printed.  Thank you kindly.
Signature: Maggie Mandarano

Dear Maggie,
Daniel’s book, The Curious World of Bugs, was indeed published in 2010, but a decision was made to opt out of using photographic illustrations like those in numerous guide books that are sold for identification purposes, and instead to use Nineteenth Century illustrations to give a more Victorian look to the book.  Our standard release on our submission form does indicate that WTB? can publish letters and submitted images on our site and any associated publications, and we did post your image of mating Twice Stabbed Stink Bugs, but the posting was online and not in print.

Larger than normal for Berkeley
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM
I’ve found the insects here in Berkeley to be generally fewer and less varied than where I grew up in rural Wisconsin. But a few weeks before I move back to the midwest this one turned up on my bedroom ceiling two nights ago. I’ve never before seen one in Berkeley. The body is 1 inch long and 0.25″ inch wide, and each antenna is 1.25″. I kept her occupied with a raisin during the photoshoot, which she seemed to appreciate. What is it?
Finally something large and not a crane fly
Berkeley, CA

Eucalyptus Borer

Eucalyptus Borer

Hi Finally,
This is a Eucalyptus Borer in the genus Phoracantha. There are two species with the same common name. Phoracantha recurva and Phoracantha semipunctata were both accidentally introduced from Australia. The two species are quite similar and we don’t feel qualified to determine which of the species you have found. The larvae bore in the wood of eucalyptus trees.

Update:
Thank you for the response!  Between those two, it seems to be clearly a Phoracantha semipunctata, based on the description and P. semipunctata photo here…
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7425.html
…and the P. recurva photo here…
http://www.barkbeetles.org/browse/subject.cfm?SUB=12355
— Finally